A group of Tea Party protesters blasted the California Democratic Party on Friday for hosting its annual Pro Tem Cup fundraiser while the state is in economic despair.
The protest—which took place outside of Poway’s Maderas Golf Club on Friday —attracted about 20 locals, most of whom are members of the Patriot Coalition of San Diego County, or more informally known as Tea Partiers.
“The purpose is to point out the hypocrisy of this fundraiser when they have to pass a balanced budget,” said Steve Baldwin, one of the protest’s organizers. “They’re not doing anything up there—we’re pissed.”
Protesters said they were upset that the Democrats were still participating in the fifth annual Pro Tem Cup—a two-day event with the second day hosted by Torrey Pines Golf Course—when they’ve yet to solve the state’s estimated $26 billion deficit in its entirety and have the ability to pass a balanced budget with a simple majority.
Baldwin, a Santee resident who served in the State Assembly from 1994-2000, said he is frustrated that Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing for a June ballot measure to extend tax increases for another five years.
“If you raise taxes, there’s going to be a huge economic impact on the people,” he said. “I know what goes on up there and we got to hold them accountable.”
David Wainwright, president of the Rancho Bernardo Tea Party, said he was unable to make it to the protest, but he “would have gotten out and blocked the road.”
Wainwright said politicans are “basically owned” by the unions and cater to their desires. It’s time for people to fight back, he said.
“The public is crying out, ‘We can’t afford for you guys to have the same lifestyle that you had before the recession when we’re out here trying to make ends meet and you’re living like kings’,” he said.
One protester said she wasn’t just lobbying against the state government but the Obama administration too.
Nita Heale, a Fallbrook resident whose husband retired as a Los Angeles County fire captain, said she was disappointed in politicians in general.
“They are thinking of their own interest, not in the interest of the country,” she said. “I’m here for the future of our children. We have to take a stand.”
Also among the protesters was Drew Spangler, a former Nevada legislator who said he is now living in Section 8 housing in Vista.
The protesters, who said they will also attend the event at Torrey Pines Golf Course on Saturday, said they want the legislators to return to Sacramento until a budget had been passed.
But a spokesperson for the Senate Democrats said the lawmakers have attempted to pass a balanced budget, but Republicans aren’t budging on negotiations.
“While Democrats have worked day and night to address the budget crisis, made billions of dollars in tough but necessary cuts and continue to fight to let Californians vote on a long-term solution, legislative Republicans have largely sat on their hands—except to hold multiple fundraisers of their own,” spokesman Jason Kinney said.
Kinney suggested the protesters’ time would be better spent “asking their Republican friends in the Legislature why they won’t do their jobs and constructively engage in a bipartisan budget solution.”
On Thursday, Brown signed 13 bills into law resulting in $11.2 billion in cuts ranging from higher education to welfare. As of Friday at 2 p.m., Brown had yet to sign the complete budget package, as negotiations continued with the state’s Republican leaders.